Monday, February 12, 2007

And this time, I really enjoyed Auroville

Auroville, Third Time February 2 2007 Filed under: Back in India — Joelle @ 11:29 am
I just left Auroville this morning after a third visit.
At first I had been quite confused by Auroville. My first visit had left me without having seen much but the visitors’ centre, and adjoining touristy shops and facilities. I’d seen the Matrimandir from outside, because my guest pass didn’t allow me access inside, and I’d sat under the nearby banian tree, geographical centre of the city. I took part in a dance session and met with the new-agey side of people there. Without a scooter or cycle, the distances were too great to explore the things in-between the centre and the beach, where I was staying.I got the impression of a triumphant and living utopia in 3D, complete with thousands of space cadets each building or propagating their own version of utopia, in a kind of striclty organised chaos with added human ingredients - creativity, certainly, and failings too.
My second visit was different as I got a taste of inside. I met people who had lived there for a long time, and because of new rules, got admitted inside the Matrimandir, physical heart of the experiment - or so I thought, because of the importance placed by the official tourist board’s spin on the Mother’s vision and the Matrimandir.All the while, in between and during visits, I heard tales of dissatisfaction with the admin side of things, the rules and laws. But I saw happy people too, freely giving shape their vision.
I was trying to figure out what went on there, so I could conveniently put Auroville in a little box in my mind, but without success. So I edged on the negative side of opinion, “something not feasible”. The on-goign experiment still eluded me.
The third visit presented me with yet another version of Auroville. Again, we stayed on the beach in a hut on stilts, which adds to the pleasure of going for a holiday there. I was there with Laxman, and Dominique, a friend from Belgium. We had scooters to go round and visited friends, and explored the different communities.
We visited working artists, beautiful houses and constructions, an ugly block of flats, a great concert, friends and more friends, an organic garden farm for the second time, I took part in the first half of a Bhuto workshop while Laxman and Dominique found someone to fix a puncture…
And this time, I really enjoyed Auroville. One of the Aurovillians gave me a key, when I told him I couldn’t figure what the place was about: he said, it’s an on-going experiment, but regarding the people there, it’s also a practice ground for opinions. Suddenly putting Auroville in a box didn’t matter. I accepted that there are as many Aurovilles as there are inhabitants and visitors. Then all I could see was the creativity that made the place spring to life, and the creativity of its inhabitants. The problems were the same as problems everywhere, as problem in an art studio.
This time I came away from Auroville refreshed and truly inspired. I look forward to visiting again, and see it under yet another light. Perhaps I’ll take part in something - and in the mean time, allow my own creative side to blossom.

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